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Luke 19:47-48 seeking to kill him

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Thursday, January 31, 2019

The clearing of the temple (Luke 19:45-46) took place the day after Jesus entered the city on the donkey. Perhaps a simple outline of Holy Week in Luke’s Gospel would be helpful at this point:

  • Thursday (prior) – Jesus passes through Jericho, healing a blind man and dining in the house of Zacchaeus (18:35-19:27)
  • Friday, Saturday (prior) – Jesus travels to Bethany and remains there (19:28)
  • Palm Sunday – Jesus rides a donkey into Jerusalem (19:29-44)
  • Holy Monday – Jesus drives out the salesmen (19:45-46)
  • ‘Busy’ Tuesday – Jesus teaches in the temple (“day by day,” 19:47). He preaches about the coming of the kingdom of God and about the Last Days (20:1-21:38)
  • ‘Silent’ Wednesday – Judas agrees to betray Jesus (22:1-6)
  • Maundy Thursday – Jesus celebrates the Passover and institutes the Lord’s Supper. He prays in Gethsemane, is arrested, and put on trial (22:7-64)
  • Good Friday – Jesus’ trial concludes. He is crucified from 9 am until 3 pm, when he dies. His body is removed and buried (22:65-23:56a)
  • Holy Saturday – Jesus’ body remains in the grave while Jerusalem observes the Sabbath day (23:56b)
  • Easter Sunday – Jesus rises from the dead and appears to his followers (24:1-49)
  • Forty days later – Jesus ascends into heaven (24:50-52)

47 Jesus taught in the temple day after day. The chief priests and the scribes and the leading men of the people were seeking to kill him, 48 but they did not find any way they could do it, because all the people were hanging on his words.

These verses serve as an overview of Holy Week. The Greek expression “day after day” is identical to the idiom “daily (bread)” in the Lord’s Prayer (Luke 11:3). Jesus uses a very similar phrase when he says, “Every day I was with you in the temple courts” during his trial (Luke 22:53).

We can only imagine the rage of the priests and the others after Jesus drove away the salesmen. Having sanctified the temple (set it aside once again for its holy purpose), he was now using the large courtyard and the covered walkway known as Solomon’s Colonnade (John 10:23) to teach his disciples and whatever people were nearby.

While he was teaching, the leaders of the Jews plotted to kill him. Notice that Luke shows that they were from three different walks of life: First were the chief priests, the religious leaders of the Jews. Next were the scribes, the ones sometimes called “the teachers of the law.” We might just call them lawyers. They were experts in the Law of Moses and the other laws of the people, and doubtless they were feared by anyone who was taken to court. Finally there were ‘the leading men of the people,” Jews who were businessmen and other leaders who had financial interests in the prosperity of the city. All of them had sinful reasons to hate Jesus. They were men “who had riches without understanding” (Psalm 49:20). The words of the Psalms are rich in their description of the plot against the Lord: “May those who seek my life be disgraced and put to shame; may those who plot my ruin be turned back in dismay” (Psalm 35:4; cp. Psalm 40:14 and Psalm 70:2). Their plot was a “wicked scheme,” driven partly through bribes (Ps. 26:10) to “advance against” the Son of God (Psalm 27:2) and to “murder the innocent” (Psalm 10:8). But Luke tells us that they couldn’t figure out a way to do it in secret, because they wanted to “hide their snares” (Psalm 64:5). They were bloodthirsty (Psalm 59:2), ruthless (Psalm 54:3), willing to use deception (Psalm 38:12), and plotting with one another (Psalm 31:13).

They were Jesus’ “enemies without cause” (Psalm 69:4,  Lamentations 3:52). Jesus did not even cry out, “See how my enemies persecute me!” (Psalm 9:13). He let them plot and plan. Passover was fast approaching, the time when the innocent lamb would be inspected, declared to be acceptable and pure, and then slaughtered as the sacrifice. This had always been the Father’s plan, and the Son was carrying it out willingly, righteously, perfectly, flawlessly, and for our sakes.

Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim Smith

About Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.


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